Slates to Tablets: Bundled content sends Indian schools on a digital quest

Future of education in India seems to be increasingly tablet centric as we see more and more useful content making its way into the handy device. After the Aakash iTutor tablet that offers study material for early medical aspirants and HCL’s MyEduTab that comes with preloaded textbook content, publisher Tata McGraw-Hill and Vriti, a Smart Education firm have announced a collaboration to launch ‘Smart Courses’ for engineering and management on tablet devices.

According to a report, digitized private school products market is around $ 500 mn and it is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20 % to reach $ 2 bn by 2020. The market potential by 2020 could go up to $ 4 bn. And the market for ICT in government schools is $ 750  mn currently and is expected to grow five times by 2020.

Aakash Tablet (Image: Datawind)

Vriti’s “Smart courses” will be available from September onwards, the company said in a statement adding that pre-bundled courses will be available on the upcoming 10″ version of MMicromax Funbook Pro. The first set of courses are slated to be released by early September.

According to Vriti, the platform would contain e-books, assignments, videos, multimedia, detailed assessments & personalized tips wrapped in a lesson plan. The course will also create student edu-social communities per course on the cloud across the globe, the company said.

Earlier this month, HCL had launched ME Y2 tablet packed with pre-bundled applications for music and movies. In addition to that, in June this year Noida based iProf had launched XtraClass, a solution that combines school curriculum with preparation for Engineering and Medical exams integrated with faculty access.

Educomp Smartclass in use (Image: Educomp)

Presently, adoption of online courses and consumption of pre-bundled content on tablet devices in India are quite low. However, gradually both would gather momentum especially as the  higher education segment and coaching classes take to the e-route.Growing expenses one text books, accessibility on the go and faculties’ ability to craft relevant and contemporary study materials would drive the adoption rate. Further, if ambitious projects undertaken by government such as providing low cost tablet Aakash to the students across the country get implemented, undoubtedly adoption of online courses would get a strong leg up.

Open-source textbooks, free for students to use are also being developed by various companies and adopted in more classrooms. In future, education focused ICT companies, publishers and faculties may work hand-in-hand with the rise in subscription based online courses to revolutionize the way we view and pay for education in India.

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